Dear Dr. Archer,
I think I'm losing it. As a skeptical 18 year old male, I've always been fairly self conscious and edging to paranoia that I'm always being watched. However, during the past year, I've been having times of severe depression when I just don't speak for days, but then I'm talkative the next.
I believe I am bipolar, but I also believe my mental strength can think my way out. I want to be diagnosed, but I don't know the steps I should take. I can't talk to my friends about my situation, since I'm the "agony uncle" character. This means I'm often drafted into other's social situations, I feel that speaking to them could label me as mentally deranged.
I know there are people with worse problems than I have, but it's been heavy on my mind, and this is beginning to cripple me emotionally. Yours faithfully,
I agree; you need to be diagnosed. If you have a family member or friend who has seen a psychiatrist, you can get a recommendation. If not, you should call your local hospital E.R. and get the name of a psychiatrist they recommend. They know the doctors, Jack, and are aware of which doctors take a keen interest in their patients.
Please do not put this off any longer. If you had a medical problem, you would seek medical help immediately, I'm sure. What you're experiencing may not be serious but it does sound like a possible chemical imbalance that needs to be assessed by a professional.
It might be just the mood swings of adolescence or it could require some psychotherapy or meds but you won’t know unless you get it assessed.
Take care of your health; get a diagnosis as soon as possible. I wish you well, my friend.